A public/private initiative
Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation
South Bend Venues Parks & Arts
Foundry Field will provide a quality public-access baseball field for children and adults in South Bend’s urban core. When completed, it will be a truly remarkable public space that adds vitality to the Southeast neighborhood and celebrates the baseball stories of our city’s marginalized communities.
foundry field at southeast neighborhood park | plan
Home of the Foundry Giants
Recovering a rich history
In the 1920s, the Studebaker industrial baseball league was at the top of the South Bend sports page, and the Foundry Giants were often at the top of the standings. The predominantly black team hailed from the Studebaker foundry and included several players who would play in the Negro Leagues. Much of the history of the Foundry Giants has been lost—although cryptic box scores remain scattered throughout the local newspaper archives.
Foundry Field is dedicated to recovering that history and honoring the Foundry Giants alongside other underrepresented baseball teams or players from South Bend’s history.
Through our collaboration with the community, our local partners, and historical researchers, we hope to gain a clearer picture of these men and women—helping to preserve their stories of courage, resilience, and determination as they navigated issues of inequality, accessibility, and representation in their time.
Our aim is to inspire the next generation to continue the fight for greater equality, access, and representation for all South Bend residents.
Foundry Field will help recover the stories of South Bend's baseball past—with a focus on telling the stories of the underrepresented. Through collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library, The Civil Rights Heritage Center, and South Bend Community Schools this portion of the Foundry Field project hopes to bring to light untold stories.
Through an artist residency program, Foundry Field hopes to bring in nationally-recognized mural artists that are representative of the stories being depicted through race, ethnicity, or gender. These artists will work with the community to design and produce a series of murals that will create visible, enduring public art for the Southeast neighborhood.
Visiting and local artists will be able to utilize the public art wall for workshops, classes, and revolving exhibitions. Through the artist residency program, youth from organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club and Riley High School can learn about art and design methods, processes, and careers with hands on experiences that result in publicly visible art.
foundry field at southeast neighborhood park | mural plan
history in the outfield
A series of six murals tell the story of South Bend's underrepresented baseball teams and individuals. The wall spans left and most of centerfield at Foundry Field—ending at the High Street underpass.
a two-year project
Six 1-week artist residencies over the span of two years brings prolonged awareness to issues of equality and representation and connect South Bend youth with nationally-recognized minority artists and designers.
a gateway to understanding
The murals will be accompanied with historical markers and an online repository that will tell the story of each depicted team/individual and the context in which they played.
Foundry Giants Mural | Thomas "Detour" Evans
This spring, we are thrilled to welcome Thomas “Detour” Evans to South Bend and Foundry Field. Detour is an artist, innovator, and educator. He’s done large-scale murals throughout the country—including a mural of Jackie Robinson in Tulsa, OK, and a recent orioles mural in Baltimore, MD. His book, Be the Artist helps young artists navigate the art world and establish a sustainable art career. Discover more of his work: @detour303
Here’s a look at Detour’s work and our progress on the mural wall:
The Foundry Giants Mural is being funded through the support of the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. It will connect our city’s youth to the history of the Foundry Giants, the game of baseball, and the practice of art. Students from the Boys & Girls Club and Riley High School will collaborate with students from Notre Dame and our visiting artist Thomas “Detour” Evans, to assist with the mural, create a Foundry Giants poster installation, and lead conversations on race, representation, and access.
The vision for Foundry Field has evolved over the last three years. We've tried to work alongside the neighborhood, larger community, and our partner organizations to envision exactly what the field could become and we continue to invite input from those invested in our community. We hope these FAQs might answer some of your questions.
We believe Foundry Field will actually support the local leagues and fields by creating greater interest and investment in baseball. We do not plan to have programming that would conflict with existing leagues. In fact, we hope to build partnerships with local leagues to connect them to more players, resources, and the history of baseball in South Bend.
The field will be used by the Boys & Girls Club to introduce youth to the game of baseball, the South Bend Community Schools to support baseball at the middle school level, the Sappy Moffitt Baseball league for adult community baseball, and other partners that might see an opportunity for ongoing community use. When not reserved, the field will be accessible to the public.
The Field will be publicly accessible with no locked gates. The public will also be able to reserve the field through South Bend Venues Parks and Arts—with first access given to the Boys & Girls Club, South Bend Schools, and the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation.
The field will be a public park, maintained by the South Bend Venues Parks and Arts. In addition, the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation is committed to providing supplemental field care to help keep Foundry Field in top shape for the community.
Flexible budgets allow us to expand or contract our project depending on the support we receive from grants, foundations, or corporations. Our hope is to build out the park at its full budget, but intend to move forward when we have sufficient funds to get each phase started.
Right now we know the field will center on the Foundry Giants, but have been actively discovering and researching additional histories like Uncle Bill’s All-Colored Girls Softball team, a Potawatomi baseball team, and Charles Thomas—who inspired the integration of professional baseball here in South Bend. As we discover these stories we will select some to be represented on murals others will be included through historical markers or online histories.
We are actively researching the Foundry Giants through our research partners and hope to share their stories and the stories of other teams, as we gather them.
increasing interest in baseball
We hope Foundry Field will foster more interest in baseball through programming, history, art, and public access.
increasing access to baseball
Through our partnership with the Boys & Girls Club and South Bend Community Schools, we believe Foundry Field will introduce baseball to more youth and keep them playing longer.
increasing support for baseball
We hope to support existing community baseball leagues by directing interested youth to their local league and partnering to raise visibility and access to baseball—working together to develop the next generation of citizens and leaders.
Partnering for a more connected and inclusive community
Foundry Field was first envisioned by the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to build a high-quality baseball field at Southeast Park to aid the revitalization of the Southeast Neighborhood, preserve and promote the history of baseball in South Bend, and serve the youth of neighborhood communities by making the facility available to them.
Venues Parks & Arts inspires a more livable South Bend for all, connecting us to emotionally engaging experiences and to one another. VPA is a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency with the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies, member of the International Association of Venue Managers, and a proud finalist for the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA)’s 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
research and planning partners
We invite you to be a part of this exciting campaign now by making a charitable gift. Your generosity will help to create an exceptional space that will both celebrate and revitalize the community! Thank you also for helping to spread the word on social media!
support foundry fieldDonate
If you prefer to give offline by cash or check please mail or drop donations to:
Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation
c/o Sean Kennedy
711 E. Colfax Ave.
South Bend, IN 46617.
The Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
We currently have partnership opportunities for Phases 2 and 3 of Foundry Field. Consider contributing to one of these initiatives: